The marriage between strawberries & rhubarb

Rhubarb and strawberries are currently in season thus when I found that the rhubarb is half price at my usual supermarket, I decided to get them and make a compote.

This strawberry and rhubarb compote recipe came from one of my favourite pastry chef, David Lebovitz. This is so easy to make and extremely delicious! I have had them over home made granola, frozen yoghurt and vanilla ice-cream. It just taste SO good. Shuhan from mummy i can cook made this jasmine rice pudding with poached rhubarb and I am sure this compote will go just as well with the jasmine rice pudding!

Strawberries & Rhubarb Compote (adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe)
(the quantity below is adapted to suit store bought amounts and it makes about 6-8 servings)

155ml water
155ml ml unsweetened apple juice
5 sliced fresh ginger
50g sugar
50g – 80g honey (adapt to suit your sweet tooth!)
500g rhubarb, trimmed and cut
250 – 300g strawberries, hulled and quartered

First, heat the water, apple juice, ginger, sugar, and honey in a non reactive sauce pan.
When the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is simmering, add the rhubarb and cook until soft (not too soft though!). This may take about 5 minutes, depending on the rhubarb & your preferred texture. Remove from heat and add the prepared strawberries.
When cool, you can remove the ginger slices.

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ENJOY!

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In hands…

It was Food Revolution Day last Friday and Giulia of Mondomulia invited us to a pizza masterclass at her house. Equipped with my new toy, I joined Sam & Hannah who were the fellow ‘students’ for the evening.

Giulia made recipe cards for each of us and had already set up a table full of ingredients for the workshop. We tried being attentive students whilst Giulia went through the importance of great ingredients and how to make pizza dough from scratch. The best bit of the evening came when we tried to toss the pizza dough. Out of the lot, one hit the ceiling and another ended on the floor. You can guess where mine went.

Whilst going through my photos, I was totally captured by the postures of the hand. Pizza preparation comes down to good dough and pizza tossing skills. I believe the following describes how our evening went before we indulged in our hand made pizzas topped with cooked ham, marinated artichokes and mozzarella.

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You can read more about the pizza workshop on Mondomulia.

*Thanks Giulia for hosting Food Revolution Day 2013! I hope I can do it at mine next year!

World Baking Day! Banana, Matcha & a hint of rhubarb!

It’s World Baking Day and as I have some leftover ripened bananas and some teapigs matcha powder left, I decided to bake some banana, matcha and rhubarb muffins! The banana and matcha (green tea) goes really well together and the rhubarb gives the muffin a tangy contrast. So easy to make and great for breakfast and tea!

muffins

Ingredients:
2 tbsp matcha powder
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
rhubarb (cut up), optional
2 bananas (mashed up), optional
caster sugar, to top

Preheat oven at 170degC. Line muffin tin with muffin cups. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then, slowly add in wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Then fold in the cut rhubarb. Fill muffin tin with mixture about 3/4 of the way. Sprinkle granulated sugar to the top. Bake for around 15-20 minutes.

Cookery school – advanced pastry class

I have always considered myself as quite the baker. I enjoy baking and have taught myself a few tricks in the last few years. Perhaps the tricks were picked up when my mum asked me to fold in some flour whenever she bakes. One of my favourites is tart au citron. Making both the pastry shell and curd from scratch gives me a lot of satisfaction.

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When Cookery School at little Portland Street mentioned their advanced pastry course, I knew I had to go. The other half of Dishpiglets, Celia, had previously raved about her time there when she took up one of their intermediate cooking course. This was my first ever experience at a cooking class outside of school. The last time I was 13 and being taught how to cook during Home Economics class back in Singapore.

When I arrived at the Cookery School, there was a plate of delicious smelling gruyere cheese puffs waiting for the attendees. The gruyere puffs were light and had a slight tinge of saltiness to them. We were definitely off to a great start!

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The advanced pastry class was about exploring the use of puff pastry in both sweet and savoury recipes. Our tutor for the day was Ghalid, a pastry chef who was trained in France and has worked at many famous kitchens before deciding to switch to teaching. We were shown how to make a sweet short crust pastry to start with. The technique he taught was very different to the ‘shortcut‘ way which I normally used to make a lemon tart base. The key to a good sweet short crust pastry was the handling technique. There were many great tips given along the way and you could see all the students writing down ‘secrets of the trade‘.

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What intrigued me most was the making of puff pastry. Ghalid showed us the massive chunk of butter used in the making of a delicious puff pastry from scratch. Puff pastry is essentially BUTTER. The amount of time and strength used to roll the layers of butter and dough together to create all the layers requires patience and tenacity.

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There were a lot of hands on sessions with guidance from Ghalid when we were split into two groups of 3 to execute the provencal tomato tart and apple tarte tartin. As I was in quite the savoury mood, I headed to the provencal tomato tart group and tried to roll out a pre-prepared puff pastry. The handling of the puff pastry needs to be quick and precise. Manoeuvring of the pastry is crucial, with flour being regularly dusted onto both sides as you slowly roll it out. Ghalid gave a few pointers and we managed to roll out a decent length of puff pastry ready for our provencal tomato tart toppings.

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provencal

The other group prepared their apple tarte tartan and we were shown by the chef how to put it together. He then proceeded to show us other uses for puff pastry including the making of chicken sausage rolls and parmesan cheese straws.

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At the end of the class, we sat down together to enjoy our 3 hours of hard work, paired with wine. It was a ‘pastry’ themed dinner where we devoured our fruits of labour. The tomato provencal tart, apple tarte tartan and the parmesan cheese straws were the stand outs. This was a truly enjoyable class and I went away with a determination to make my own puff pastry soon! It was a wonderful way to spend a weekend afternoon, learning how to make pastry.

*The Cookery School participates in the Sustainable Restaurant Association Sustainability Rating and was rated as a Three Star Sustainability Champion in March 2012. They “have implemented numerous commendable sustainability practices, not only sourcing much produce locally and purchasing high welfare, organic food, but also sourcing most seafood from UK fisheries and stocking UK organic craft beers and some UK wines.

Cookery School
15b Little Portland Street
London W1W 8BW
Tel: 0207 631 4590

*Disclaimer: I attended the advanced pastry class as a guest of the Cookery School. All views are my own.

It’s all about bao 包…

Just over a month ago, I heard about bao london from a few food bloggers but none have supposedly tried it. After numerous google searches and twitter follows, I managed to track their next few street food appearances and headed down to Kerb one Thursday afternoon in search of 包.

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lunchmen

What exactly is 包 = bao? In mandarin, Bao is a steamed and filled bun. The texture is ‘pillow-y’ or even ‘fluffy’. There are many types of 包 bao which I have had, having grown up in Singapore. We always have 包bao as our tea time snack or even a breakfast item. One of the most common 包 bao which most people have come across is most likely char siew bun i.e. the barbeque pork bun.

What Bao London serves and specialises in is their gua bao 刈包. Gua Bao is a traditional taiwanese street food snack which comprise of slow braised pork belly, home pickled vegetables, coriander and peanut powder (which they grate themselves!!!). Having queued and tried one of these little babies, I commend them for bringing their bao to London.

filling bao

guabao

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My heart did a flip when I bit into the soft milk bun. The juices and tenderness of the braised pork belly together with the slight saltiness of the home pickles and dryness of the peanut powder in the tender milk bun calls for a standing ovation. I loved every bite of the 刈包 gua bao. It was that good. My only criticism was the size of bun and the overflowing juices of the braised pork belly which made the bao soggy real fast.

I also tried their pomelo crunch salad and soya milk fried chicken which they fry only upon orders. The soya milk fried chicken was tender and juicy in contrast to the crispy coating which I enjoyed with some chilli sauce on offer.

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As for the pomelo crunch salad, it was a nice end to the flavoursome bun and chicken. I liked the subtleness of the vegetable salad tossed with some crunchy fried pastry and pomelo which added some acidity and a little bit of sour/bitterness to it all.

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You can find out where Bao london is at next if you follow their Facebook or twitter.

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Also check out the Skinny Bib’s review of bao, yum bun and A Wong.

Dishpiglets’ rating: 9.5/10

*On a side note, I love the design of Bao London, from the stall to the paper bag as well as their ‘anatomy of the bun’ info board. It’s just so aesthetically pleasing.

Matcha tea – teapigs

I tried teapigs for the first time one evening whilst over at a friend’s place. I was quite taken by the everyday brew (english breakfast) and loved the strength of the tea.

When teapigs mentioned their ‘Matcha May’ promotion, I was intrigued. I have always been a fan of green tea. When we got married in December last year, our wedding cake was a green tea layer cake with white chocolate ganache made by a very talented baker, Irene Chen, in Melbourne.

weddingcake

Since then, I have been trying to create cakes with matcha. I have made matcha & lemon marbled cake which I have featured on the blog previously.

For those who do not know anything about matcha, it is actually green tea leaves ground down into fine powder. In Japan, matcha is used in formal tea ceremonies. From what I have read and heard so far, matcha powder contains more health benefits by volume than brewed teas. The amount of antioxidants in matcha is 137 times more than the antioxidants in regular green tea.

With the sample sent through from teapigs, I made two different flavoured smoothies and the usual cup of matcha tea. Having had other matcha tea before, I decided to do a taste experiment against a packet of matcha tea which I bought a few months ago from a local Japanese store. There is a stark difference in the colour of the matcha and from some websites, they have mentioned the quality of matcha tea can be told by the colour and smell of the matcha.

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The taste of teapigs matcha tea is very whole as compared to the slightly burnt/ sharpish taste of the other. *I made the two separate cups of tea with the same quantity of matcha. Whenever I have matcha, I always feel a stark difference in my energy levels. The cup of matcha definitely perked me up in the afternoon.

Besides the hot matcha tea, the smoothies I made were a simple banana smoothie as well as a strawberry banana yoghurt smoothie mixed with matcha. I love the contrast of the fruit smoothie in comparison to the subtlety of matcha. I always have a favourite smoothie from Boost Juice Australia called the green tea mango mantra which is made out of mango, green tea, mango nectar, vanilla yoghurt, sorbet & ice. Mango and matcha goes so well together and that will be my inspiration for the next smoothie I make!

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If you would like to try matcha, teapigs have kindly offered our readers to 15% off at teapigs website. All you have to do is enter the code BLOGGERS12 at checkout. Do note that the discount does not apply to gifts and cheeky deals.

Check out teapigs for their explanation on further information on matcha.

You can also follow teapigs on Facebook and twitter: @teapigs.

Get drinking!